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Concept for an artist in residence project on invitation of Paul Collinson as part of the cultural event 'Art in the open 1999', Quay Art, Kingston upon Hull. The proposal could not be carried out for financial-technical reasons.
BOTH ENDS MEET
The project will consist of two components: an ambulatory and a local one.
I. THE AMBULATORY COMPONENT
The basic idea for the ambulatory part of my project is the 'pedlar': a travelling merchant. The pedlar I'm thinking of is not selling material goods, rather he carries a light-weight peep box on his back, resembling a vending machine with a slot for a coin to be inserted. The portable construction is a facility for reproduction and display, inside which 'ambulatory impressions' are being offered. Because the peep box is portable, there are practically no restrictions to its range of employment.
BOTH ENDS MEET
The peep box is equipped with two viewers for two Super8 films, manually operated by a single crank.
Each display facility corresponds with its own eyepiece. Both films register the same subject: a ship's journey, perceived from two different perspectives. The films are shot from a ferryboat's upper deck with the camera fixed perpendicular to the water surface. The footage shows part of ship's side and the turbulence of the water below as the ship plies the waves. When the camera is held over the port side of the ship, the forward movement is reproduced as a progression from top to bottom. When the camera is held over the starboard side of the ship, the forward movement is reproduced as a progression from bottom to top.
The footage will be edited and cut into a loop format. As the 'client' operates the crank, the left viewing device (left eyepiece) shows the portside filmloop, while the right viewing device (right eyepiece) simultaneously shows the starboard filmloop. A small sign is fixed over each eyepiece. The left sign reads "arrival", the right one "departure".
The synchronic audio track is provided by a crank-activated walkman, playing an ordinary two track (stereo) cassette loop-tape. Its reproduction facility is split in two sections. Through the right earpiece, the sound of a beating heart can be heard, through the left earpiece you can hear the sound of a ship's engine.
Over the slot for the coin, there is a small sign, reading: "VOYAGE". (ref. 'The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology': voyage journey (spec. by water) [...] : from Latin viaticum = money or provisions for a journey....)
For the presentation of the ambulatory component of the project, I propose to 'plot' a daily 'course': a circular walk as a trade route from and to designated 'ports' within Hull's city centre. The service operates conform a schedule which is based on the expected quantity of 'cargo' (coins) generated along that route. It would be profitable to provide pre-publicity on the performance (i.e. by handing out maps with the pedlar's route and time schedule). I propose to limit the performance to a seven days period.
II. THE LOCAL COMPONENT
This component is located in an obscured space (Quay Art exhibition space), fitted with two video projectors. The floor is flooded. Two opposite screens serve as projection surfaces. The name of this space, that cannot be entered, is: the 'destination room':
One projector shows the image of the lighthouse of the Maasvlakte at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas river, which gives access to the docks of Rotterdam. The opposite projector shows the image of the lighthouse of Spurn Head at the mouth of the Humber, giving access to the docks of Kingston upon Hull. Both images are shot from a ferryboat putting into port.
The image of the Maasvlakte tower is illuminated by a light phase of five white flashes, followed by 14 seconds of darkness, which is the signal of the lightbeacon on the Maasvlakte (51o 58' .N / 4o 01' .E):
The image of the Spurn Head tower is illuminated by the phase of a green light flashing at an interval of 3 seconds. This is the signal of Spurn Point Beacon at Spurn Head (53o 34' 4 .N. / 0o 06' 5 .E):
The 'destination room' is starting point as well as termination point of the daily trade route of the pedlar.